On the North East Coast of Malay, in the State of Kelantan, fishermen - whose ways have not changed in 2000 years - went down to the shore at the village of Bachok this month to seek the blessing of the Sea-God, Dovar Ollar, by sacrificing a white buffalo at the water's edge.
G.V. THE GATE PREPARED FOR THE KING'S ENTRY TO THE BEACH.
S.V. THE WHITE BUFFALO BEING SPRINKLED WITH HOLY WATER.
S.TOP V. DITTO.
S.V. GROUP OF KELENTNESE WITH SPEARS, WATCHING.
S.V. TOWARDS BUFFALO BEING LED TO BEACH.
S.V. MAN PREPARING WAY FOR BUFFALO.
G.V. PEOPLE AT BEACH, MAN HOLDING BAMBOO AND FLAG MAN, HOLDING FLAG, IS CALLING TO THE SEA SPIRIT.
S.V. CHILDREN WATCHING.
S.V. SPIRIT MAN.
G.V. SMALL BOATS OUT AT SEA.
S.L.V. MEDICINE GIVING FLOWER IN POT TO THE SPIRIT MAN.
C.U. SPIRIT MAN HOLDING FLOWER.
L.V. KING'S TENT ON BEACH.
S.TOP V. MEN BEATING DRUMS AND GONGS AS CLIMAX DRAWS NEAR.
C.U. HAND BEATING DRUM.
S.V.PAN BUFFALO BEING LED ALONG BEACH.
FULL C.U. BUFFALO LICKING HIS LIPS.
ANGLE V. FLAG ON TENT BLOWING VIOLENTLY (SUPPOSEDLY SHOWING SEA SPIRIT IS APPROACHING)
ANGLE V. ANOTHER FLAG FLAPPING
S.V. SPIRIT HAVING LEFT THE SEA IS VIOLENTLY WAVING HIS FLAG.
S.C.U. BUFFALO BEING SPRINKLED AGAIN BY THE CHIEF CEREMONY MASTER.
C.U. MAN BEATING GONG.
S.V. BUFFALO FIGHTING FOR HIS LIFE.
S.V. CHILDREN WATCH AS THE BIG BOMOH HANDLES HIS KNIFE.
S.V. STILL FIGHTING BUFFALO IS DRAGGED TO THE GROUND.
S.V. YOUNG WOMEN WATCHING.
TOP V. BOG BOMOH SLITS BUFFALO'S THROAT.
S.V. WOMEN WATCHING.
L.V. BIG BOMOH STILL AT WORK AS KNIVES ARE THROWN INTO THE SAND.
S.C.U. WOUND IN BUFFALO.
S.TOP. V. BLOOD FORMING A RIVER TO THE SEA.
S.V. SPECTATORS WATCHING AT EDGE OF SEA.
TOP V. BLOOD MINGLING WITH SEA WATER.
The blood gushes into the sea as the buffalo still alive has its throat slowly cut. The breakers falling back take the blood into the sea. The bigger the breakers, the bigger the success of the operation. - Dovar Ollar, the Snake God of the Sea, has been appeased.
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Background: On the North East Coast of Malay, in the State of Kelantan, fishermen - whose ways have not changed in 2000 years - went down to the shore at the village of Bachok this month to seek the blessing of the Sea-God, Dovar Ollar, by sacrificing a white buffalo at the water's edge.
The ceremony which lasts three days and began this year on June 14 has been practised in Malaya since the 15th century but recently the ceremony, deep in religious implication and Hindu by origin, has only been performed in two states.
The rites include prayer to drive off evil, to beseech the Sea-God's protection of the fishers and to ask for a good harvest from the sea.
This year, the ceremony, which takes place normally every three or five years, was held in particular to invoke the God's protection of Malayans who are menaced by the cholera epidemic in neighbouring Thailand.
The fishermen have no engines in their craft. Engines, they believe are a machination of the devil which would offend the quiet of the Sea-God who temporally has the shape of a snake. Nor do the fishers take warning of approaching storms notified by a weather station in the region - for the same reason.
The Sultan of the State of Kelantan in magnificent headdress and accompanied by his wives and children opened the ceremony by sprinkling rice on the white buffalo whose qualifications for sacrifice are that his coat is as white as snow and his horns bigger than his big ears, white being the symbol of purity, the horns a symbol of strength.
Fishermen, led by the headman of the village and the medicine-man, Bomo, prodded the buffalo onto a long red carpet stretched by the water's edge to bring the beast before the God whose presence is signified by the giant waves and the blowing of the wind.
To attract the God's attention, rice is then thrown into the sea. Drums throb and the buffalo, prodded by the spears and led by the rope in its nose, is thrown to the ground. With drawn knife, the executioner - the medicine-man Bomo - slightly outs the beast's throat to give the God time to manifest himself through the strong wind sweeping the beach.